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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

BACK    TO    PARIS    AND    CELEBRITIES
table napkin, and although the balcony was not
very much higher than the model's throne, the
strain on his wrists nearly killed him.   We were,
however, very satisfied with our drawings.   I often
went to the studio and drew and did some good work,
and also had some very good food and drinks, which
more often than not, I badly needed.    The Pole
knew a certain number of very respectable French
and Polish bourgeois friends who came occasionally
to have coffee at the Dome and at the Rotonde.
One day, things were very bad indeed, and I went
to the municipal pawnshop with a ring.   There are
no pawnshops like those in London, but only the
State ones.   I entered an enormous building in the
Boulevard Raspail, that looked like a bank and
waited in a queue.    I was given a number and
shown into a large room, where, to my surprise, and
to  their embarrassment,   I  found  several of the
French  bourgeois that  I  knew.    Conversation  at
moments like this is a little awkward, and even I
was at a loss to know what to say.   I thought that
the situation was rather funny, but the poor things
were only disturbed.   We all sat on benches and, at
a little office at the side, our numbers were called
out, and at the same time an offer of the price that
they were prepared to give.   This really was most
humiliating and nearly always disappointing.    I
waited my turn and suddenly my number was
called out, " Number 12, thirty francs.35   Everyone's
head turned in my direction and, with a strange
feeling in my throat, I said " Oui"    On another
occasion my Pole and another Pole went to pawn a